Hundreds attend Leachville Centennial

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Hundreds of people made their way home to Leachville Friday and Saturday to help their city celebrate its 100th birthday in style.

Parade Grand Marshal Steve Clark, wife Suzanne, with Jill and Nathan Sanders.

Festivities of every variety had been planned for the two-day event. Cars, trucks and motorcycles kicked off the festivities Friday evening to "Drag Main." Barry Kirby cranked up the music at the "Sock Hop" in the old Leachville gym, as visitors took off their shoes and danced to familiar songs from their high school eras. Gospel musicians took center stage at the Melody Theatre to round out the evening. Mayor Ralph Wells expressed his appreciation to artist Kevin Reagan for his beautiful gift of Melody Theatre computerized portrait, which will hang in the foyer of the theater.

By 9 a.m. driveways at the Buffalo Island Central East Elementary and Junior High were beginning to fill with floats, horses, buggies, antique automobiles of every variety, along with tractors, ATVs, bicycles, fire trucks, police cars, semi trucks, and even a track hoe. Paula Bowen, Joey Barnes and Michael Burrier kicked off the parade 10 a.m. and circled the town before coming back to rest at the school. Steve Clark served as Parade Grand Marshal and rode in the Sanders vintage buckboard wagon at the front of the parade. He was accompanied by his wife Suzanne, Black Oak Mayor Eddie Dunigan and centennial supporter Ronnie Kennett.

Registration of former Leachville High School students began at 11:00 at East Elementary. Barbara Lloyd, Patsy Dunlap, Barbara Arnold, Ethel Hetler and Eileen Logan registered over 300 former classmates and hundreds of other guests throughout the day. Classmates donated money to pay for reunion expenses and to use to plan the next Leachville Alumni gathering in 2020.

Leachville Mayor Ralph Wells opened the centennial program at the elementary, with pledge to the American flag, singing of the Star Spangled Banner and the lighting of the Memory Candle.

Mayor Wells lit the candle on a large three-tiered 100th birthday cake. Fifteen beautiful cakes were baked for the special occasion, with recognition given to the six schools that made up the Leachville School District. Moba Lee Miller, Donna Barnes, Jewel Crites and Retha Hawkins served the cake to the more than 800 people in attendance.

Memorabilia and decorations surrounded all four walls of the cafeteria and stage and were provided by Jack and Retha Hawkins, Frances Warren, Elaine McClain and Barbara Lloyd.

Bigg Butts BBQ was on site to serve full meals of fried catfish, barbecue, burgers, hot dogs and drinks throughout the day.

Adams Land Company welcomed guests to their estate, east of town, where children took part in a fishing derby, croquet, fun on bouncy houses and face painting.

The traditional School variety show began at the Melody Theatre downtown at 6 p.m., with Moba Lee Miller serving as master of ceremonies. It was standing room only inside, with entertainment that included a wide variety of singers, musicians and dancers. Hot dogs, popcorn and sodas were served at the concession stand.

At 9 p.m. the grand finale came in the form of an elaborate fireworks display at the city park provided by The Cave Dwellers.

The Leachville Arkansas Centennial book was available at all events downtown throughout the day.

Following the services at Second Baptist Church, on Sunday morning, red-white-blue helium balloons were released signifying the close of the Leachville Centennial celebration.

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